Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) celebrates on the bench in game five of the 2014 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at AT&T Center. The Spurs beat the Heat 104-87 to win the NBA Finals. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
I could lay out the statistics supporting that the Spurs are, indeed, the model franchise (there are many to which I could refer).
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I could timeline all of the events that took place between San Antonio’s first and most recent championship, or discuss how this team has not only withstood the imminent arrival of Father Time, but has also thrived in its ubiquitous presence.
Instead, I want to reflect on how the 2013-2014 NBA Finals resurfaced the childhood Spurs fan inside of me, a feeling that many lifelong Spurs fans can attest to.
The Spurs have always been a constant in my life since I was young. All I can say is thank you and Go Spurs Go!
— Ethan Cohen (@Ethan_Cohen2) June 18, 2014
I still remember distinctly to this day the first basketball card that I ever owned: Tim Duncan.
As a young, hyperactive fourth grader, I was given a Tim Duncan card by one of my good friends. That was the beginning of my man-crush (I once wrote an unfinished letter to Duncan as a 12 year old, proclaiming my ultimate fandom by bragging how many cards, posters and jerseys I had of him) not just for Duncan and the Spurs—but the sport basketball itself.
While it may seem childish (perhaps because I was a child) to choose my all-time favorite basketball player by simply receiving a card of him, I honestly believe it was fate that brought Timmy, the Spurs and me together.
It seems like it was the luck of the draw that Spurs went on to win the NBA Finals the same season I fell in love with them—and again in 2005, and again in 2007.
And, now, 2014.
know for a fact tha
t like to think that my fandom was actually what put them over the hump and in the discussion as a sports dynasty.
Nevertheless, I was spoiled rotten as a kid growing up watching the most successful NBA franchise of recent reign supreme (well, in every odd year, of course) and I unknowingly took all of their success for granted.
I even had the weirdest superstitions when it came to making sure the Spurs would win.
I couldn’t play the NBA 2K video games on Spurs game days—but my brother absolutely positively had to play one game and win; nobody could touch my Duncan-jersey basketball that sat atop one of my shelves; I could never watch the game if it was nationally televised, I could only keep up with it on the Yahoo GameCast.
Yes, I have come to the realization that these were really, really, really quirky superstitions, but, hey, they worked.
I had to do my part to help them succeed, regardless of how silly my superstitious actions were.
Now, fast forward to Game 6 of the 2012-2013 NBA Finals.
As a college student, I had outgrown my superstitions and over-the-top adoration for The Big Fundamental, but the Spurs were still the Spurs—and still a huge part of me as an individual.
After they blew Game 6, I was nearly inconsolable.
I fell in a complete state of shock, combined with intense feelings of disappointment and sadness.
I highly, highly doubted that San Antonio would have the emotional wherewithal to win Game 7 after that crushing defeat; even my superstitions would have done nothing.
As a fan, I was crushed. But that’s exactly it, I’m just a fan: I couldn’t imagine what the Spurs, themselves, felt; and the thought of that was even worse.
It truly seemed like the end of an era.
Fast-forward to Game 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals.
Throughout the entire series, I reverted back to the fourth grader in me.
I was back to my weird, although completely new and not nearly as outlandish, superstitions.
All I could think about was how badly I wanted the Spurs to win, not just for my sake, but for each individual Spurs player, the city of San Antonio, and all lifelong Spurs fans alike.
Seeing Timmy, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Gregg Popovich finally fulfilling their drive for five was why I wanted them to win.
To see my childhood idols once again celebrate their victorious climb to the mountaintop was indescribable.
The way they hugged each other in jubilation after their seven-year championship drought, and the fact they redeemed themselves against the same team that broke their hearts a year previous was simply perfect, especially with the way they annihilated the Heat in such a demoralizing, dominating fashion.
Seeing the hard work, sacrifice and passion throughout the entire franchise resulting in their emotional catharsis gave me a better feeling than any Hollywood feel-good-movie could provide.
The Spurs have been a part of my life for more than a decade.
They’ve been there for me during the toughest of times, ready and willing to pick me up whenever I needed it most.
Yes, simply put, the Spurs are just a basketball team, but when you look deep down, they are more than that: They are a family.
They are the perfect illustration of how not to give up when life gets difficult; They are the epitome of selflessness.
Thank you San Antonio for bringing back the fourth-grader in me. I’ll never be able to thank you enough.
The San Antonio Spurs are on top of the NBA world once again, and that’s a something you can never take away from the Spurs and their lifelong fans. Go Spurs Go!
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